Here’s where I’m going to depart from the usual secular description of dealing NPD, to bring God firmly into the picture. Why am I doing this? Because the only way to truly deal with NPD people, and the only way to leave the cult with your mental health intact, is by accessing and acknowledging the spiritual dimension to the problem.
Many secular NPD experts will recommend going ‘no contact’ with emotionally-abusive NPD people. This is often the best approach when it comes to dealing with acquaintances, friends, distant relatives, or other people it’s fairly easy to cut out of your life and not have anything to do with.
But when it comes to close relatives, and especially parents and siblings, then the ‘no contact’ approach doesn’t really work. As mentioned, NPD people create ‘cults’ around them in their families, so if you go ‘no contact’ against the cult leader, who is usually a parent (or both parents), by default you’ll end up losing contact with the rest of your family, too, who will either:
- start abusing you incessantly (if they also have NPD), or
- start avoiding you like the plague (if they don’t have NPD but have bought into all the lies about how ‘perfect’ the family is.)
Another reason why no contact generally doesn’t work for close family members is because of the often overwhelming feelings of guilt. Again, NPD people, and family cults generally, excel at instilling guilt and shame in people as a way of controlling them.
Until and unless you do the work of uprooting all those toxic feelings of guilt and shame that are already inside you, going no contact will usually make you feel too bad about yourself, and play into the narcissist’s picture of how ‘bad’ you are, to be of much help in actually healing the problem.
An additional reason no contact often can’t work is because your children and spouse - who haven’t grown up traumatized by the emotional abuse - often can’t understand why you’re cutting poor old grannie and grandpa out of your life, and will also start to blame you for your actions.
Explaining how bad NPD behavior is to others who haven’t experienced it for themselves is almost impossible. You generally just sound like you’re making a big deal out of things, being oversensitive, or making trouble for no real reason.
So what can you do to get out of this terrible bind?
Here’s where believing in God, and understanding that everything that’s going on in your life is tailor-made for you, comes in.
Spiritually-speaking, the whole world is a mirror. For as long as you have NPD people in your life, and no obvious route of being able to completely and happily avoid them and ignore them, that’s because God is using them to show you something about yourself that you still need to work on.
Sometimes, it’s a straight ‘mirroring’ experience. For example, NPD people are routinely angry and abusive. The more anger you still have inside of yourself, that you haven’t yet managed to uproot (particularly if you’re someone who tends to ignore and deny your own negative emotions) - the more God is going to put these angry NPD people in your face. NPD people excel at sparking off every negative emotion known to man. Whatever your particular ‘negative emotion hot button’ is, they’ll find a way of pressing it.
So the first thing to do is to work on your own negative character traits, particularly anything that appears on the list (below) of personality disorder-ed traits. The less bad habits and behaviors you yourself have, the less God will surround you with the crazies.
But sometimes, things really aren’t that straightforward. Sometimes, even if you’ve worked on your own character for years, and dealt with most of your issues, God will still send some horribly abusive NPD into your life to tell you a bunch of hateful things about yourself.
But even here, the spiritual principle that these people are simply delivering messages in someway still holds. For example, if an NPD person calls you a ‘parasite’, that doesn’t mean that you are. But God is using that person to highlight some aspect of your life where you’re maybe scared to act more independently, or where you consider yourself to be very lowly in your own eyes.
God wants you to move forward in some way, or to start to lift your head up a little higher and to believe in yourself, so He arranges for some NPD person in your life to call you a ‘parasite’, for example, in the hopes of sparking off the soul-searching that’s going to lead you to a much, much better place.
This subject requires a lot more clarification, as the devil is always in the details when dealing with NPD people. They excel in building their huge, soul-destroying lies around a 1% of truth, so we have to be extremely careful when we start searching for ‘the message’ in all their abusive words and behavior to understand that the message is NEVER that we’re bad / awful / unforgivable / horrendous / disgusting / terrible people.
God never writes people off like that, only mentally-ill NPD people do. God also doesn’t diss the totality of a person. By God, the discussion is always and only about actions and individual traits, not global descriptions of how ‘bad’ and ‘mentally ill’ and ‘loathsome’ a person might be.
God doesn’t label! He also only sees the good in us, and understands how difficult it is to stand up to our evil inclinations and choose to do the right thing. So the message is only ever about a trait, behavior or belief that needs changing in some way, and is NEVER about how ‘awful’ we are.